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Billions in damage and great worries

Destroyed fields, flooded grain stores, fish kills: Ukraine expects billions in damage after the Kachowka dam collapsed. And concerns about the cooling system at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant also remain high.

The destruction of the Kakhovka dam has massive consequences for people and nature in Ukraine. “Cities, infrastructure, whole industries have to be rebuilt,” said the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Oleksii Makeiev, to the newspapers of the Funke media group. Makeiev expects damage in the billions. However, the overall damage would only be visible once the water had run out.

According to Makeiev, the reconstruction costs for Ukraine this year alone amount to 14.1 billion dollars (around 13 billion euros). “Of this, $3.3 billion has already been made available in Ukraine’s budget. Everything is needed, from drinking water filters to inflatable boats,” said the ambassador.

The ambassador is also concerned about fisheries and agriculture in the flooded region. “The losses to the fisheries from the loss of all biological resources will be severe.” A fish kill has already been registered in the Cherson region.

Makeiev: “The grain stores are under water”

The grain industry in particular is struggling. “More than 20,000 hectares of agricultural land, on which Ukrainian vegetable growing was concentrated, have been idle for many years,” Makeiev said. “The grain stores are under water. Only a few ships in the Black Sea ports that supply grain to the whole world can be loaded.” The flooding has blocked transport routes, and the closure of the ports in the Black and Azov Seas is causing massive damage to many small and medium-sized companies.

In a joint estimate published at the end of March with the EU, UN and the Ukrainian government, the World Bank put the cost of rebuilding Ukraine and the recovery of the country’s economy at 411 billion dollars (a good 370 billion euros) – just from the damage from the first war year.

According to the Funke media, the Ukraine has submitted an application for emergency aid to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has asked for, among other things, tank trucks for the drinking water supply, fire hoses, life buoys, motor pumps for dirty water and life jackets.

Shaded: territories occupied by Russia

Whole tracts of land under water

The Kachowka Dam was destroyed on Tuesday night. In the southern Ukrainian region of Cherson, large areas of land are now under water – both on the right bank of the river controlled by Kiev and on the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of destroying the dam. Moscow denies this and blames Kiev for the disaster.

The water in the reservoir is falling

Meanwhile, the Dnipro reservoir has lost more than a third of the flood water accumulated in the spring. “As of 12 noon on June 10, the level of the Kakhovka reservoir in the Nikopol area has dropped to 10.2 meters,” said Ukrainian hydroelectric utility Ukrhidroenerho.

According to the operator, the hydroelectric power plants work at half power. More water is now to be dammed up in the upper reaches of the Dnipro in order to be able to generate electricity in the summer.

Worry about AKW

Experts are also concerned about the cooling system at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. The flooding does not directly affect the Russian-controlled nuclear power plant, which is more than 100 kilometers upstream. However, the nuclear power plant draws water from the dammed Dnipro River to cool the decommissioned reactors and the nuclear waste.

The Ukrainian Atomic Energy Agency shut down the last reactor that was still in operation. A so-called cold shutdown had already been carried out for the five other reactors in the nuclear facility occupied by Russia. According to Enerhoatom, however, there is “no direct danger”.

According to experts, the water supply for the cooling systems will continue to be guaranteed for a few months despite the dam breach. According to Nikolaus Müllner from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna, it is questionable whether this time window can be used to develop alternative water sources.

“It is of course a threatening situation,” said the head of the Institute for Safety and Risk Sciences of the dpa news agency. In addition, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi had warned that the large cooling pond of the nuclear power plant could be damaged by the warring parties. And: According to Grossi and Greenpeace activists, there is a risk that the dyke around the pond will come under excessive pressure and be damaged due to the changed water levels.

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